Businesses with significant IT use has to be able to stay in operation at all times, come what may. The one place where one can’t cut corners is the data center. Data centers are a second source of power, a place where a company stores its data offsite. Just like some people may have plenty of their own belongings and wines at home, while storing some of them at a storage center; businesses today need to have access to their own data while storing it with a colocator or data center.
A good colocator or data center should be one with the ability to keep operating even when there are power outages, disasters or other reliability challenges. One reason to not skimp on a data center is that the quality ones doubly secure customer data by having back-up generators that kick in when the regular service ceases. It may cost them more to have such generators, and they will pass this cost on to their customers.
Weather or other phenomenon that may cause an electrical black out or brown out are not just a remote possibility. They really happen, causing a company that skimps on their data center budget allocation to regret it.
It’s important to select a data center that has maintenance and risk management plans. Top-tier companies will have such plans, and be able to show them to you or detail how they work. It’s important that they also can articulate what they can do if an earthquake or something occurs. If there has already been a disaster in the area where the center is located, seek to know what type of service interruption they experienced, if any.
If they can’t demonstrate or detail how they handled such matters or plan to handle such matters in the future, keep looking. Don’t cut corners by contracting with a data center that hasn’t thought out and planned for contingencies.
Smoke Detection/Fire Suppression
In the event of a fire or smoke incident, a data center needs to have maximally working smoke detectors that alert to any smoke incident; along with fire suppression equipment that can put out any fire without damaging data equipment. You also want to know that they are sufficiently insured against loss. Failing to check into these matters could backfire. Seek to know and see what they have in place. Smoke detectors and other equipment should be visible. If you take a tour with a company that you are considering, and you don’t see such equipment, keep it moving. By all means, take the tour. Don’t take anyone’s word for anything.
Your data will be compromised if the data center gets too heated. HVAC cooling capacity is mandatory in such environments. Your data is an invaluable asset, so make sure the data center you select can protect it well through temperature control. This amounts to high-power density, and it must be top-notch.
Their Contract Caveats
Make certain that you understand the contract language. In particular, you need to ensure that they have provisions for penalizing themselves if they fail to meet their contractual promises. For example, what will they do in the event of a security breach?
Your data center should be so on top of things that they have this type of language in their contracts. After all, they are asking you to trust them to perform as promised.
If there are hours during the 24 hour block of time when the data center has no one on staff, you can almost predict that this is when problems will arise. You need to pay up, and contract with a center that has staff there 24/7, because that’s how long your data assets are in their care.
You want a data center with SAS-70 certification from a CPA. This certificate verifies that they have adequate control over technology and related data. You may have to pay more for it, but you want a data center with infrastructure and software that is SAS-70 compliant.
They say you get what you pay for. If you have a company worth its merits, you want it to have everything in place to protect and safeguard your data. Paying a rate that’s commensurate with what you really need will be an almost failsafe plan. Look at it this way, your assets mean a lot to you, so pay as if they carry this significant weight.